Authors Posts by BengaliMilesGuru


I recently had to take a quick trip to Bangladesh. While searching the United site, I found some good space on Thai, EVA, United and Asiana. All the airlines have flat bed seats, but I leaned toward EVA Air because they joined the Star Alliance two months ago, so I hadn’t yet had a chance to fly them.

EVA flies the same flat bed business class seats as Cathay Pacific and the new American Air 777-300ER, which are widely considered the best business class seats in the world. The chance to fly a new airline and the best product made EVA my top choice.

I was booking with US Airways miles, so I followed the standard procedure to book an award with US Airways miles.

  1. Search for award space on because it displays all of the Star Alliance, and only shows US Airways space. (All alliance partners should have access to the same award availability, so anything found on is bookable with US Airways miles.)
  2. Call US Airways at 800-622-1015 to book the award.

My Itinerary with all flights in Business Class:

The routing via

LAX-TPE 8/13 1:35AM Arrive 5:10AM +1 EVA Air
TPE-SIN 8/14 7:10AM Arrive 12:00PM Singapore Air
SIN-DAC 8/14 8:40PM Arrive 10:30PM Singapore Air

DAC-SIN 8/18 11:55PM Arrive 6:00AM +1 Singapore Air
SIN-HKG 8/19 7:00AM Arrive 12:00PM Singapore Air
HKG-TPE 8/19 1:00 PM Arrive 4:25 PM Singapore Air
TPE-LAX 8/19 6:40PM Arrive 4:20 PM EVA Air

What was my take on the food, service, and bed?


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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Tahsir recently flew Singapore Business Class for twenty hours and was blown away by the service.

I recently had the opportunity to fly on Singapore Airlines Business Class from Houston-Singapore via Moscow. I was excited for this trip because of my last trip with them in which I flew in their Suites cabin.

Singapore Business Class

When I booked this trip, I made the reservation using the Avianca website as I described in this post.

So how was the trip?


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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Great minds think alike? Yesterday I posted about my dream Singapore Suites, Cathay Pacific First, and Lufthansa First Class Terminal trip. I still think my trip idea is cooler, but Tahsir has actually booked something, so he’s beating me there! ~Scott

Tahsir–the Bengali Miles Guru–just booked himself a pretty sweet trip to combine Singapore Business Class with Cathay Pacific First Class to head around the world and sample a few Asian cities.

Introducing: The most ridiculous trip around the world in 6 days!


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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If you’re going to the Frequent Traveler University this weekend, let’s meet up! At the last FTU meetup in Los Angeles, we were able to meet a ton of new people and put some faces to familiar names. Hopefully, we can engage some of our readers at this meetup too!

Although Scott will not be there, Bill & I (Tahsir) will be!

We scouted out a location that is rated highly by the locals and is also walking distance from the Hilton!

Upon choosing a suitable location, we decided on a casual place to get desserts and drinks over a sit-down restaurant.

Time: Saturday April 27th @ 7:30 PM

Location: Danielle’s Desserts. 1770 U. International Drive. Mclean VA 22102

Link to Dessert Bar

Meeting Point: We will meet at the lobby of the Hilton at 7:15 and take the 10 minute walk to the dessert bar!

Let us know if you can make it in the comments below or email us so we can gauge how many people to expect!

-Bill & Tahsir



Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

The Avianca/TACA LifeMiles program sells miles for around 1.36 cents per mile, which means you can get into luxury seats like Singapore business class beds on an A380 for less than the cost of a paid economy ticket.

LifeMiles selling for 1.3 cents is not new. Scott wrote about that deal in September. Every month or two LifeMiles has a “2 for 1” promo that makes their miles a steal. What is new is that Singapore business class space is currently bookable on

Normally longhaul Singapore business class space on their 777-300ERs and A380s can only be booked with Singapore’s own miles (or Membership Rewards transferred to Singapore.) Singapore charges big fuel surcharges on redemptions; LifeMiles doesn’t. So now is your chance to get into longhaul Singapore business class beds for under $900 per direction, which in some cases could be cheaper than buying the same flight in economy.

Singapore 777-300ER Business Class

Here’s why LifeMiles rock:

  • During 2 for 1 promos, you can buy miles for 1.5 cents. There is a 2 for 1 promo until April 30, 2013. (To participate, your account needs to have been opened before April 8, 2013, the date the promo started. This is a common requirement, so open a LifeMiles account now to take advantage of the next promo.)
  • You only need 40% of the miles listed on the award chart to book an award. The other 60% of the award’s price can be purchased at 1.275 cents per mile.
  • Combined that means you can start with zero miles now and get the miles you need for an award for 1.36 cents per mile.
  • The LifeMiles chart is broadly in line with United’s chart. It’s not too much worse. For instance, roundtrip business to Europe is 105k LifeMiles versus 100k United miles.

For more detail, see Roundtrip Flat Beds (Business) to Europe for Under $1,500 All In.

Here are some example itineraries and prices in dollars.

Example 1: LAX-Singapore with LifeMiles account opened before April 8th

Cost: 62,500 Miles oneway

Miles to purchase with 2 x 1 promo: 13,000 @ $30/1000 = $390

Total Miles so far : 26,000 (13,000 * 2 x 1 Promo)

26,000 is about 40% of 62,500

Purchase the remaining miles required at $474 (37,000 miles * 1.275)

Redemption Fee: $25

Taxes: $2.50

Total: $891.50

That is some amazing value for a Business Class ticket to Asia! Keep in mind that this is one way, so roundtrip would be double that amount.

Example 2: LAX-SIN with account open AFTER April 8th

Cost: 62,500

Miles to Purchase: 26,000 @ 30/1000 = $780

Purchase remaining miles needed (37,000) at 1.275 CPM = $474

Redemption Fee & Taxes: $27.50

Total: $1,281.50

That is a pretty good deal for Business Class to Asia one way–especially if you were going to purchase a premium ticket anyways. But you would do better by waiting until the next 2 x 1 promo, when you are eligible.

Singapore Space BEFORE purchasing at 1.275 CPM
Singapore Space AFTER purchasing at 1.275 CPM

Why Is This Important?

LifeMiles are extra hot for one reason right now, and it is because you can gain access to Singapore Airlines business class award space. Flying from Newark-Singapore on the longest flight in the world is now possible for $900. That route will shut down later this year so it’s best to try to get on those flights.

In addition, you  don’t have to fly to Singapore. You can go anywhere in Asia on Singapore for 62,500 LifeMiles each way in business class. India is 62,500 miles in Business Class, and $891 is extremely cheap for one ways to India in Business Class!

Problems With LifeMiles

There are drawback to LifeMiles that you should know.

  • They don’t always show the same partner availability as other Star Alliance programs.
  • The agents are worse than US Airways reps.
  • You cannot combine two cabins like Business & Economy or First & Business. LifeMiles is the only program in the world that I know of that has this rule.
  • Their Multi-City search is horrible.
  • They show a ton of phantom space.
  • Sometimes, the system won’t ticket your reservation.

If you can get over these issues, then LifeMiles may be a good proposition. However, it comes with great caution. I bought 26,000 miles today and went to ticket my reservation only to find out how buggy the system is. For 30 minutes, the system crashed. Then, the flight I wanted to book became unavailable. 10 minutes later, it became available again. I ticketed an itinerary and an E-Ticket number wasn’t assigned for 24 hours, which made me nervous.

My Confirmation

But in the end everything has ticketed and for less than $900 I am flying:

  • Newark to Houston in United First
  • Houston to Moscow to Singapore in Singapore business

[Scott: I am very tempted to buy myself a seat Singapore to Frankfurt for this fall on the A380. I happen to need to get from Southeast Asia to Europe, and under $900 for a flat bed on Singapore’s A380 is tempting.

Singapore Business space for 65k miles (AKA $891)

And yes SQ26 that day is on an A380…

I still haven’t decided whether to book or not…]

If you have plans to travel in premium cabins to Asia, Africa, The Middle East or Europe, this is a great way to save some money!

For anyone who has booked with LifeMiles, what have your experiences been?

-Bengali Miles Guru

Tip to Canadian Kilometers & Ben for discussing this more!


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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After a few eventful days in Bangkok, I was ready to head on over to Hong Kong. I initially booked my flights to Hong Kong on the specific purpose of flying Lufthansa’s new 747-8i in First Class. As luck would have it, Lufthansa began flying to Hong Kong with the 747-8i two days before I was scheduled to fly that route.

Bangkok to Hong Kong has been operated by a Thai A380 because of Hong Kong’s strong business-traveler demand.

I got to the airport at about 6:30AM for my 8:05 AM departure. I was dropped off by the First Class check-in area, which is separated by a partition from the other check ins. The check-in was very nice, and I was promptly offered water and a cold towel. At 6:30AM, the humidity and heat were already unbearable, and the towel helped me cool down a bit.

First Class Check-In Area

After checking in, I was given boarding passes for all of my flights and while looking through them, I noticed that my Hong Kong-Frankfurt seat number was 83H. For whatever reason, it didn’t click at the time,  but a 747-8i First Class has rows starting from 1 and not 83. The reason why is because First Class on the new 747 is at the front of the plane versus upstairs on old cabins. Little did I know that this would be something I should have caught a lot earlier.

After getting all my boarding passes, I was escorted through the terminal to the immigration line. After passing through immigration, I was escorted to a waiting buggy that would shuttle me to the First Class lounge.

Once at the lounge, I was greeted by what seemed like every employee. I didn’t get a semi-private room but I was seated on one of the couches. I was immediately asked what I’d like to drink, and I chose Thai Iced Tea. I also inquired about getting a quick massage as it was already 7AM. Eventually, I settled on a 30 minute foot massage.

After the massage, I came back to the lounge where I sat for less than 2 minutes before an agent called me for boarding. I, along with 5-6 others, were escorted downstairs onto a waiting bus. The A380 parked quite far from the lounge, and it took about 10 minutes to get to the plane. I noticed that there are also different buses that people take to the plane. For First Class, there is a VVIP/VIP bus that takes you from the lounge to the plane. This bus is different from the normal bus because it features one huge couch on the bus instead of individual bucket seats and standing areas.

We soon got off the bus and were escorted to the plane. It was a long walk up the stairs and eventually we reached the 2nd floor of the Airbus A380.

Of the 8 people that boarded the bus, 4 were in First Class, and I assume the rest were in business. The purser came around and offered us drinks. I chose orange juice as it was early in the morning.

After the doors closed, the captain came on air and informed us that the flight time would be a short 2 hours and 10 minutes. We eventually lined up for takeoff, and so began the great Royal Orchid service.

The menus were pre-distributed before we got to the seat, and they came in very nice shiny folders.

The purser came around and introduced herself and also took my meal order. Because it was so early, breakfast was being served, and I chose Corn Flakes.

I then proceeded to roam around the plane. I give a lot of credit to Thai for putting First Class on the second floor because they managed to create a nice space for the premium cabin. I also want to point out that Thai’s A380 restroom is ENORMOUS! It is bigger than the Lufthansa A380 restroom, and it even features a separate seating area!

Across from the restroom is a small seating area intended for First Class passengers to mingle and converse. I can imagine that some people might use it on long haul flights, but no one used it on our short flight.

In between the restroom and seating area, there is a small lounge area that is filled with snacks and magazines. On our flight, it was not filled due to the short duration.

I went back to business class and snapped a few pictures there. Business class on the A380 features a flat-bed product, and every seat has a lot of privacy. It is a bit claustrophobic though.

At this point, we were about an hour from landing, and I took the time to peek around the seat and cabin. Thai’s design of the cabin is very bland. The colors are very plain and they don’t make the cabin look that great. In addition, the seat is just as bland as the cabin. At times, it was too bright to even see, so I closed a few windows.

The seat itself has a lot of storage space. There’s also overhead bins and a closet on the side of the suite.

The seat controls were plenty for a seat like this, and the added nightlight to the side had a nice touch.

There was also a folder to the side of me with a ton of Thai Airways A380 stationary items.

 The In Flight Entertainment had a lot of movie selections, and they were fairly recent releases. Thai also supplies their own noise canceling headphones, and they work surprisingly well!

The seat goes flat and the pillows are the best of any airline!

We began our descent into Hong Kong and the clear skies turned into fog/rain. It was so foggy that the TailCam didn’t even show the runway until about 300 yards!

The landing was smooth given the circumstances and we were greeted at the door by Hong Kong based agents. There was an awaiting buggy that drove us what seemed like a mile to the immigration area.

Overall Thoughts:

I think that Thai did an OK job designing the cabin on the A380. There was no need for the table to be in a fixed position above the seat. It kind of makes it look like the ANA 777-300ER seats. It also takes away from the amount of space within the seat. The in flight entertainment looked promising and had a big selection of movies.

The color of the cabin was very plain, and so was the seat. The seat was very comfortable though and Thai’s pillows are in my opinion, the best pillows of any airline.

I believe that it is a great way to fly short haul or even long haul as the A380 flies to Frankfurt & Paris from Bangkok. If you want polished and consistent service with good food and a bed, this is a great way to fly!


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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It’s been a long week for me as I have just spent a few days in Germany, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The entire week was a blast and it was probably the best trip of my life. To make it even better, at the end of the week I was scheduled to fly Malaysia Airlines new A380 in their First Class cabin. Here’s how it went.

I left Paris around 9AM to catch my 12PM departure. Originally, I was supposed to be dropped off but the train seemed like a more viable option. I got to the airport at around 10AM and proceeded to look for the Malaysia Airlines counter for the next 15 minutes. Malaysia Airlines departs out of Terminal 1 at CDG and if you don’t know, the terminal is like a huge circle. I walked around for 10 minutes (in two full circles) until I realized that some airlines check in one floor below where I was. It was kind of odd, but I could see why they did that as soon as I got downstairs and saw the line. The economy line stretched so long that other airline counters were having trouble distinguishing who was flying each airline.

All the way to the corner was the check in desk for First Class. There was no line and I was checked in smoothly. As soon as I started walking away, the agent noticed that my bag looked a little big. She asked me to weigh it, and it weighed 12kg when the max was 7kg. I pleaded with her to let me take it on board and she replied “OK, just make sure you take your laptop out and put it underneath the seat.” I agreed knowing that my laptop doesn’t weigh 10 pounds.

After my boarding passes were checked, I was able to head to immigration/passport control. This is one part that could easily be improved as there is a priority line that is for frequent/premium passengers. However, Malaysia Air doesn’t give their premium flyers a card to access this line. I didn’t mind but the normal line stretched the length of the entire “circle” terminal and it took me an hour to get through just immigration.

By this time, it was 11:15 so I headed to the lounge.

The Malaysia Airlines lounge is the same lounge that Priority Pass users are granted access to, so anyone with an American Express Platinum can get in. It is called the Icare lounge and it has a pretty decent selection of food and snacks. It is a bit confusing to get to the lounge because right when you walk upstairs, a huge plaque tells you that Malaysia Airlines is actually partnered with another lounge. Either way, I made it and took a seat at which point I was served a croissant on a silver platter.

Twenty minutes later, boarding for First and Business class passengers was announced in the lounge. I headed to the gate and went through security. Afterwards, I immediately went to the gate and was let through to go to the plane. I was the first to board and I got to take a few pictures before anyone else sat down.

In some A380s like Singapore and Malaysia, the First Class cabin is downstairs, which I believe is a huge waste of space. While walking around the cabin, I noticed that there was a tremendous amount of wasted space by the front galley.

In addition, the First Class bathrooms were tiny! I was told by the purser to use the bathrooms upstairs as they are bigger. Upstairs they are the same size as Lufthansa’s A380 bathrooms, but without the bench. 

After boarding was completed, the purser brought by some pajamas for me to change into. She also noted that all my amenities were in the Malaysia Airlines bag that was on the ottoman. I think that the amenity bag Malaysia gives out is the best ever as often times, my suitcase is bulging with clothes and opening it midair means that I’ll never be able to close it again!

The amenity kit included a toothbrush set, socks, mouthwash and lotions by Bvlgari. It was a nice package with a nice toiletry bag. It also included noise canceling headphones.

I looked around my seat and found that the seat itself has immense amounts of storage space. There were 4 storage areas not including the huge storage area under the ottoman. In addition, every suite has it’s own built in closet! The seat itself is made of velour sidings.

Velour Walls

By this time, we were taxiing for takeoff. The MH A380 has an auto tailcam feature so that everyone can watch it at the same time while taking off. The tailcam is turned off about 5 minutes after takeoff and cannot be seen again until landing.

About 15 minutes after takeoff, the pilot came on air to inform us that it would take about 11 hours and 15 minutes to reach Kuala Lumpur. Right after, the lunch service began. The purser came around to my suite and chatted with me for about 15 minutes during which I learned a lot of things. Firstly, the crew at Malaysia Air only flies to the US once a year! That means that each crew member only goes to Los Angeles (their only North American destination) once a year. I’m not sure how they do that as I believe Malaysia Air has service to Los Angeles 3x a week! Her take was that Malaysia Air wasn’t really prepared for this plane when they got it because they only placed orders for the A380 due to competition from other airlines. By doing so, Malaysia will lose a lot of money in the long run. They did however, have a nifty app on their iPad that told the crew every detail about me. She offered to take a picture on her iPad that would later be sent to me.

The service by Malaysia Air is very friendly. Unlike other airlines that try to just serve you, the MH crew tries to personalize the service. I personally prefer this type of crew because I like to interact with them. One crew member literally stood at my suite for 20 minutes talking to me about my camera and where to buy it. I enjoyed that but I can see where some other travelers might have a problem with that, so you should consider whether you’d like this level of chattiness.

While looking around the cabin, I came to another realization. Malaysia Air caters to families. I was the only person in this cabin that did not know anyone. the other 7 people were all family members with 2 kids occupying 2 seats (good for them!) I asked the purser what the load is like in First Class and she said it’s usually families like the one today. The best part is that they upgraded 5/8 people from business class. That’s amazing and partially explains why they aren’t making a ton of money on this product.

After chatting for a bit, the purser told me to look at my menu card which was inside a leather folder.

I had pre-ordered a few weeks back so I just chose the Amuse Bouche and Soup; both of which were very good! The best part is that they have a great snack menu if someone get’s hungry between meals.

Amuse Bouche
Chicken Soup
Main Course: Beef Medallion
Dessert: Chocolate Cake

After lunch, I went and changed upstairs and also got to take some pictures of the business class cabin. There is also a business class lounge at the top of the stairs. I was advised that I could use the lounge upstairs to get snacks and also the lounge in the galley behind me except, there was no lounge behind me as it was just a basket with snacks.

Business Class

I came back down and my bed was made without even asking! I loved the service on this flight because this crew literally anticipated all of my needs. Water was placed on the side table and I was ready to get some sleep but couldn’t.

I started browsing the entertainment selection which had a few movies and TV shows. The selection was good, but the software itself is a bit sluggish. I found myself constantly going back and forth between programs because the system was so slow. In addition, I feel like the remote is very poorly made. When it was dark, half of the lights on the remote wouldn’t light up and it was hard to find the select button.

The seat itself is one of the most comfortable seats in the sky. It features a memory button so it can remember the exact position you like if you have to get up and do something or even switch positions to eat. The design of the suite is stunning and it offers a lot of privacy but I found it a bit hard to find the power and headphone jack because it was buried under an armrest. I would’ve easily found it, but the lighting in this suite is so horrible that you can see more without it than you can with it. For example, the reading light pointed towards the TV. The top reading light pointed to my face instead of the table. When the seat is fully reclined, another reading light that does not have any light power shoots at the TV as well. I literally had to feel my way around the seat until I got fed up and used my phone’s flashlight.

Although the lighting and entertainment are a bit off, I love everything else about this suite. At night, I felt like I was in my own personal movie theater as there was backlighting behind the 23 inch TV. It looked amazing! Also, the best part about this suite is that there is a dedicated air vent. This is a great addition because I get really warm under blankets when flying, and the air vent helped out a lot! The blankets on this flight were down comforters and the pillows were feather down. Both were extremely comfortable!

My own movie theater!
You get your own vent!

I slept for about 6 hours and was woken up an hour before landing. I foolishly pre-ordered king prawns for breakfast and was hitting myself on the head for eating something like that for breakfast instead of cereal. I asked the purser for corn flakes, which were brought out promptly.

At this time, we were 45 minutes away from landing and the captain came out to chat with everyone in First Class. Again, I felt like he knew all the other passengers as he started hugging them. I didn’t get a hug :(. The captain came over and thanked me for flying and that he hoped to see me again soon.

The seatbelt signs turned off and I experienced the smoothest landing of my life! I didn’t even know we touched down until I heard the reverse thrust.

And so we have it. One more A380 off my checklist and one great crew that really knew how to pamper their customers. As I left the plane, I looked back and saw the outside of the A380. I love the color scheme Malaysia Air put on the A380!

My overall thoughts about this product are: don’t fly it unless you are on a oneworld explorer ticket or unless you really need to go to Malaysia directly. Although it’s a great product, it’s not worth the amount of miles needed to fly it–70,000 American miles or 105k Avios each way from London or Paris to Kuala Lumpur.

Other than that, kudos to Malaysia Air for making such a comfortable and visually stunning seat!

Last but not least, I had to post a picture of my favorite drink! Iced Milo!





Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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As many of you may know, I am a college student by day and the amusing, yet mystical, Bengali Miles Guru by night. After traveling almost 100,000 miles since January, I knew that my upcoming spring break trip would have to be amazing. It would also have to help me attain my 12 months, 12 countries goal.

After giving it some thought, the best idea was to include my friends into the crazy trip I’m about to embark on.


I didn’t know where to go but naturally, I thought that maybe it should be Europe since I just flew to Asia a month ago. I set my sights on a Eurotrip themed adventure! I knew that it would have to be awesome and that my friends would have to be amused as well. I finally settled on this proposed route plan:

Los Angeles-Frankfurt

1 night in Frankfurt (Hotwire a Hotel)

Drive to Amsterdam

2 nights in Amsterdam (Radisson Blu Amsterdam)

Drive to Paris

2 nights in Paris (Radisson Blu Champs Elysees & Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s Hotel)

Drive back to Frankfurt and visit cities a long the way.

Frankfurt- Los Angeles

Last time I drove in Germany, we somehow got this car:

The hotels alone were an absolute wonder to book. In Frankfurt & Amsterdam, I resorted to Hotwire and was able to get great rates that were sub $100 per night! The best feeling was going to and seeing that the Radisson Blu Amsterdam was $296 on the nights I wanted to go. I got the same hotel on Hotwire for $86 plus tax!

In Paris, I elected to use my Club Carlson points to book two nights at two different hotels since we have a lot of people going. I was able to use the free bonus night stay that comes with the Club Carlson card and for 100,000 points, I got 2 rooms in Paris for 2 nights each (4 nights total for the price of 2)

In Paris, the hotel prices were about 330-430 Euros/Night depending on the hotels so I think I got great value from those points! (2.1 Cents)

It proved to be a stellar trip but I yearned for more, and that’s exactly what I got.

After booking my friends on a LAX-ATL-FRA-ORD-LAX flight (in Business Class because, you know, college students need to travel in style) for 100,000 miles, I looked into my own flights. Sure, I was going to all these cool places with my friends but I also wanted to make a great Trip Report out of it. I also wanted to get the most value out of my mile. 😉 

I sat down and thought about other routes till I could think no more. I came up with this masterpiece:

Los Angeles-Frankfurt in Lufthansa Business Class (A330) Part of US Airways 90K US-Europe-Asia

My parents modeling the Lufthansa Business Class seats

Paris-Kuala Lumpur  in Malaysian First Class (A380) 105,000 Amex-British Air Points

Kuala Lumpur-Bangkok in Lufthansa First Class (Yes, it’s not wrong) United 70K First Class Award. Picture could change based on flight availability.

Bangkok-Hong Kong in Thai First Class (A380) United 70K First Class Award

Hong Kong-Frankfurt (Lufthansa 747-8i 70K United Award)

Frankfurt-Los Angeles (Lufthansa First Class 70K Award)

My Proposed Trip

To make things more complicated, I used a 90k US Airways redemption to go US-Europe-Asia. I scheduled Europe-Asia as a later trip in September so technically, I end in Europe for now. I then transferred some Membership Rewards to get myself on the Malaysian Airlines A380 from Paris-KUL. I was never supposed to come back to Europe from Malaysia but I realized my flight wouldn’t make it in time to take a free ticket I had from Singapore-Los Angeles. That’s when I dipped into my United Miles to book a return from Asia-Los Angeles.

The Total Costs:

90,000 US Airways miles & $200 in Taxes

105,000 American Express Membership Rewards & $1,000 in Taxes

70,000 United miles & 100 in Taxes

The best part of this trip is that I get to test out a bunch of new products and hopefully report them back to you guys!

Some interesting tidbits about this trip include:

Kuala Lumpur – Bangkok is actually operated by Lufthansa. It is part of their Bangkok – Frankfurt flight so it goes KUL-BKK-FRA.

Overall, this trip should be fun for me and terrifying for my mom who will probably be worrying a little too much.

By flying this route, I’ll be at 4 different A380 First Class cabins in less than 3 months of each other! I’ve already flown Lufthansa & Singapore! Adding Malaysian & Thai to the mix will only leave me with Emirates, Korean Air, Air France, China Southern, & Qantas. I am most interested in flying Emirates and China Southern’ A380s in the future!

If you don’t see me on one of these flights in the upcoming days, you’ll surely see me at FTU DC in a few weeks! Hope to meet you all! You can also follow this trip on Instagram with the hashtag #flywithbmg.

Also, if you like what you see, use our Award Booking Service to build a trip like this! We’ve helped tons of people book trips of a lifetime!


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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Priority Pass is running a 20% discount on membership until March 15.

Priority Pass Discount Link

Normally, Priority Pass costs about $400 for their “full” package which includes unlimited visits to their 600 lounges, a list of which you can find here. The bulk of their lounges are independent lounges but they also have SkyTeam, Air Canada, and all United Clubs within their portfolio.

And for most people who want access to United Clubs, you are better offer getting Priority Pass membership than United Club Membership. Here are the United Club membership fees.

The normal option to buy United Club status is $500 plus a $50 member initiation fee.


Priority Pass: $399 per year (On sale now for $319) then $399 for the years to come.

United Club $550 for the first year then $500 for subsequent years. If you are the highest tier member with United (1K), it will be $450 for the first year, then $400 for the following years.

What If I don’t travel as much but still want the benefits?

Priority Pass also has two other tiers of membership which includes a $99 option (now $79) and $249 option (now $199)

The currently $79 option gives you access to the lounges at $27 per visit. At that price, Priority Pass doesn’t make sense. There are cheaper ways to get into a lounge a few times a year.

The currently $199 option gives you 10 free lounge visits. This is like buying 10 lounge passes for $20 each. Again I wouldn’t recommend it unless you knew that you needed 10 lounge passes and found lounges you enjoyed more than $20 per visit that are affiliated with Priority Pass.

If you travel more than that, you should get the $399 option which is on sale now for $319. This gives you unlimited lounge visits throughout the year. This automatically saves you $150 from United’s club membership and if you take advantage of the sale, you save $231 the first year!

What if I already have a Priority Pass Select card? What is the difference between Priority Pass and Priority Pass Select?

You get free Priority Pass Select membership from American Express Platinum cards. Priority Pass Select gives you access to all Priority Pass member lounges except United Clubs. If you don’t travel domestically a lot or don’t travel much at all, then I think you should stick with the free lounge access you get from the Priority Pass Select card.

What about guest access?

Guest Access with Priority Pass is $27 per guest.  If you have to guest someone in, the value will go down immensely. United Club membership let’s you bring in 2 guests or your immediate family for free. That saves you $54 each time you go into the lounge.


Priority Pass is having a 20% sale on its membership tiers. Priority Pass membership at these discount prices could be a great deal for many. It’s especially a great deal for someone who wants access to United Clubs, since Priority Pass–which includes unlimited United Club access–will be $231 cheaper than an United Club membership during the sale.

This sale is not a good deal if you frequently invite guests to the United Club or you travel infrequently enough that you don’t need year membership or Priority Pass Select is enough for you.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

If you don’t have the American Express Platinum Card and want to get one with the first year annual fee waived, apply here for a special offer for Ameriprise clients. Normally the first year annual fee is $450 and is not waived, so this can be a huge value.

Reports are that the application works regardless of having an account open with Ameriprise, but apply at your own risk.

The AMEX Platinum has these benefits:

If you’ve wanted those benefits, but were leery of the $450 fee, this offer may be for you. But you may also want to consider the Mercedes-Benz Platinum Card.

The Mercedes-Benz version is open to all and has all the same benefits listed above. But it also comes with 50,000 Membership Rewards after spending $1,000 within three months. The Mercedes-Benz version has a $475 annual fee that is not waived, so choosing it is like “buying” 50k Membership Rewards for $475, a choice I’d make every time.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Pack your bags folks. Today, we’re going on one of the most coveted First Class products out there. It’s so luxurious that it’s not even called First Class.

Singapore Airlines Suites were introduced in 2008 exclusively on their flagship A380-800. Ever since then, people have been hoarding their points for a chance to fly this room in the sky. For years, Singapore Suites could only be booked by using KrisFlyer points at an astounding 1 million miles roundtrip!

At the end of 2012, Singapore released their Suites product to saver availability on KrisFlyer. By doing so, the price of a roundtrip went to 180,000 points. Although that is still a lot of points, I’m here to show and tell you why it’s worth every point.

Singapore Changi Airport

I landed from Malaysia in Singapore’s Changi International Airport Terminal 1 on AirAsia. After landing, I cleared immigration and got my bags from the carousel. Tip: If you fly AirAsia, they have strict carry on rules and will often make you check in a bag. If you check in a bag, you have to clear immigration in Singapore so for people who don’t have valid entry into Singapore watch out.

I was fine with exiting the terminal because I wanted to experience the First Class check-in. Singapore A380’s and most flights on intercontinental routes fly out of Terminal 3. I got to Terminal 3 and immediately realized that I made a huge mistake. It was midnight and my flight was at 9AM. The First Class counters were closed and now I was stuck with no boarding pass and no way to enter the departures hall or lounge. I quickly ran through the entire check-in area and found a staff counter open. They were more than happy to check me in!

I proceeded to the security checkpoint/immigration queue. After clearing immigration, the time read 1AM. I made my way to the KrisFlyer Lounge and was greeted by a very friendly lounge employee. She looked at my boarding pass and told me that I was welcome to use the First Class section of the lounge but that the Private Room wouldn’t be open till 5:30AM. I opted to sit around the First Class lounge for a little while and then started walking around the airport.

A deserted T3

Singapore Changi is by far the BEST airport in the world. The amount of things to do is truly amazing:

  • Butterfly Garden (T3)
  • Cactus Garden (T1)
  • Swimming Pool (T1)
  • Fish Spa (T1)
  • Koi Pond (T2)
  • Snooze Lounges (All Terminals)
  • Variety of Shops (All Terminals)
  • Free Movie Theaters (All Terminals)
  • Singapore’s largest slide (After Immigration T3)
  • Cascading Waterfalls (T3)
  • Free Internet Kiosks & Free Internet (All Terminals)
  • Brick Toast (Best Toast Ever! T3,T2)

The lounge situation is even better in Singapore as Priority Pass cardholders get access to the Cathay Pacific DNATA lounge in T1. They also get access to:

  • Ambassador Transit Lounge (T2, T3)
  • Rainforest Lounge (T1)
  • The Green Market (Gross, Don’t Go. T2)
  • The Skyview Lounge (Cathay Pacific T1)

I spent most of my time sampling the lounges and I think the best priority pass lounge is Skyview. They have the best food options and the most space.

It was now 6AM and I started to walk to the KrisFlyer Lounge in T3. I came up the escalator and was immediately greeted by another friendly lounge agent. After taking a look at my boarding pass, she said “May I escort you to the Private Room?” I followed her past what seemed to be 50-60 people in the First Class lounge. She took me through the automatic sliding double doors and into the confines of the Private Room.

The food selection in the Private Room is actually really diverse. They have everything from Eggs Benedict to Roti Prata’s. (Singaporean-Indian dish)

I was quite surprised to see how many people were in the Private Room. There were families with kids and a bunch of business men. The place looked like it had about 20 people. The waiter quickly came to my seating area to take my order. I looked at the menu but wasn’t too hungry so I decided to forego the meals. There were a lot of people, so I didn’t take a lot of pictures.

The Private Room

About 30 minutes before departure, I was approached by the ground staff who told me it was time to board. The security check in Singapore is done individually at each gate and so I advise you to go through security about 30 minutes before. Once through security, I made my way towards the placard labeled Suites.

Singapore Airlines SQ 12

Singapore-Los Angeles (Stop in Tokyo)

Airbus A380

Suites Cabin 1A,2c,2D

As I walked through the jetway, I couldn’t help but smile. Here I was, finally flying  in Suites. As I entered, I was greeted by the Leading Steward and Stewardess and then I saw this:

I was still drooling when I took my seat and the purser immediately came to me asking for a pre-departure drink. She already had champagne in her hand and I think she expected me to order that but I don’t drink, so I ordered an Iced Milo. If many of you don’t know, Iced Milo is the best thing to happen since…mankind. It’s Asia’s version of Yoohoo or Chocolate Milk but tastes 10 times better.

While boarding was underway for the rear of the cabin, I snapped up a few more pictures.

The purser came around and handed us our amenity kits, pajamas and slippers.

Givenchy Pajamas (pronounced jee-von-she)

Kiehls Amenity Kit

As boarding wrapped up and the doors closed, the captain came on air to tell us that the flight time to Tokyo would be 6 hours and 15 minutes. SQ 12 stops in Tokyo for fuel before continuing onto Los Angeles. My original plan was to stay awake on the flight from SIN-NRT and sleep NRT-LAX.

That didn’t work out as I fell asleep 3 hours into the SIN-NRT flight. I was originally seated in seat 1A but I changed mid-air into 2C so the flight attendant could make me a double bed. For those not familiar with Singapore Suites layout, the two middle seats can be turned into a double bed. This is usually reserved for couples but the flight was only 5/12 full in First, and the purser came to me and asked if I wanted a double bed made.

Before I slept, I had to take advantage of the meal service. I had pre-ordered my meal from the Singapore Airlines website and it had consisted of

Lunch: King Prawns with Rice

I apologize in advance as I didn’t take pictures of the menu.

The first course was a delicious chicken satay.

Chicken Satay

Then, bread and soup followed.


That was followed by Salad & Cold Noodles

Cold Noodles

Then, there was the main course.

Main Course: King Prawns with Rice

After the main course, I was too full for dessert so I opted out till an hour before landing.

It was now time to sleep and my bed was soon made. To make things better, an Iced Milo and bottled water were placed on my bedside!

Although the suites become a double bed in the middle, there is a partition that doesn’t get covered up. It is extremely uncomfortable but I was able to use the Givenchy blankets to pad the partition.

It’s important to note that the seat doesn’t become a bed, but it flips over and a mattress pad is placed on it to make the bed. It is very comfortable and the supplied down comforters are the best I’ve ever used on a plane. 

The Suites offer private closing doors and window shades. The shades have an opening on the bottom and top, so you aren’t completely out of view. I was told from a source that they were made like this to make sure passengers don’t get too comfortable with their partner.

Window Open
Window Closed

I slept for a good 2 hours and was woken up by the purser for my dessert.

The Suite

We landed in Tokyo for a fuel stop and had to leave the plane while it was cleaned and checked by security. An hour later, we boarded the plane. I was so surprised to see that at my seat, there was an Iced Milo waiting in my cup holder. It seems as though the previous flight crew made a note to the new crew about my beverage choice. It’s small things like this that made the flight so memorable for me. The doors closed and we were at the gate for about an hour due to the fact that our plane had to be de-iced. I didn’t mind. I was hoping to get as much time on board.

After a long wait and taxi towards the runway, we took off towards Los Angeles. Dinner service started almost immediately and so I decided to watch a movie. The entertainment/media set on Singapore Airlines is the best in the world I’ve seen. There were a total of 246 movies and over 500 different shows to watch. The interface is very easy to use but doesn’t include the tailcam that is usually included in A380’s. I chose to watch Madea’s Witness Protection which was hilarious.

For dinner, I had pre-ordered Lobster Thermidor.

The first course was the same Chicken Satay as before. The second course was salad and after the salad, I decided to skip to my main course.

Lobster Thermidor

At this point, I was way too tired to do anything else so I requested that my bed be made. I went to the bathroom and took a few pictures there.

I came out of the bathroom to hang up my clothes on the side of my suite. Many people don’t notice it because it blends in, but every suite has it’s own closet.

My double bed was made again but now, the lighting made it look a whole lot better!

Window looking in
Double Bed
The Suite even has recessed lights!
Two TVs and Two Beds!

Despite trying to finish my essay that was due an hour after I landed, I fell asleep. I woke up about 3 hours out of L.A and started doing some work. As soon as I turned my light on to find my laptop, a steward came by and offered me a hot towel and something to drink. This is in contrast to the previous flights I took on Lufthansa where we had to call the steward over after we woke up. It’s not a big deal but again, it’s the small things that made this memorable.

Breakfast was served about an hour and a half out of Los Angeles. I previously ordered the Japanese light meal but changed my mind when I saw waffles on the menu.

Mixed Fruits
Waffle with Chocolate Covered Bananas

With 45 minutes left, I walked around the plane a little and snapped up some more pictures.

We landed and so came an end to the most amazing flight of my life. Singapore Suites is as good as it gets. For now, nothing is better. The service, attention to detail, food and hard product is what makes this airline one of the best. Be it Economy, Business, or Suites, Singapore Airlines will not disappoint. This was definitely worth all 91,375 points.

Previously: how to transfer Membership Rewards to KrisFlyer miles and how to book Singapore Airlines online.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Elegant, Opulent, Grand, Colorful and Detailed.

These are all traits that describe the Ritz Carlton in Kuala Lumpur.

I stayed at the Ritz Carlton for a night and here’s what I found:

Check in

As soon as our car arrived, the door-man helped us out of the car. He took the luggage to a holding area as I checked in. At the check in desk, there were three employees that had all welcomed me with a smile. After asking for an upgrade, I was given the executive room. This room was said to be bigger than a normal room. Our keys were handed to us, and we were shown to the elevator.

The Room

The room is amazing. We were given a room on the 11th floor and as soon as the door opened, I was in awe. For starters, the carpet is all white and extremely clean. In addition, the room was tastefully appointed with modern furniture. Unlike other hotels, the furniture actually matched and had some substance. Once I walked in, there was a work area that was separated by a wall from the rest of the room. As I walked in further, I saw a couch/sofa and a massive TV enclosure. This was all separated from the bed but not by any walls.

The bathroom is well appointed with marble flooring and walls. The bathtub in the bathroom is massive and can be made into a bubble bath by dialing the butler ($20). There is a separate walk in shower that has a clever red button that you need to push to go past 38 Celsius (100 Fahrenheit). The sink is accompanied by a variety of amenities including a toothbrush, mouthwash, toothpaste, and lotion. There are more towels than you will ever need in the bathroom. From my initial count, it was 14. (4 bath, 5 hand, 5 general purpose)

The Property

The hotel itself is located  in the Golden Triangle area of Kuala Lumpur. It is walking distance from the trendy and popular Pavilion Mall. It is also very close to Bukit Bintang, a local shopping area. The Ritz Carlton is also linked with it’s sister property The JW Marriott. The underground connection bridge boasts a variety of high end stores and is a nice place to walk around and shop! In addition to the area, The Ritz Carlton also has two amazing pools. The first pool is for hotel guests with children and the second is for ages 18 and above. The second pool is the one you want to go to for a nice swim/jacuzzi. The main pool is connected to the famous Spa Village but it is a bit pricey with massage treatments starting at about $150 for an hour.

The Childrens/Family Pool
Main Pool
A nice place to get a massage or nap!
Walkway to pool

The Service

As expected, the Ritz Carlton has extraordinary customer service. I’ve noticed that this is the trend with Asia-Pacific hotels as the service was at about the same level as the adjoining JW Marriott when I came last March. From check-in, the staff had my name memorized. The Ritz Carlton is an all butler hotel and so all of your needs are tended to in an instant of picking up the phone. When I walked downstairs to leave the hotel, everyone from the check-in desk to doorman knew my name. It was amazing to see the amount of service they provided. I also ordered room service and the food was up to my room in a record-breaking 10 minutes!

Other Notes

  • This hotel is all about branding. Everything from the towels to trash can liners were embedded with the Ritz Carlton logo. They even had their own Ritz Carlton peanuts!
  • I highly advise against using points for this hotel. Malaysia is saturated with luxury hotels and this drives the price down immensely. I was able to get a rate of $139 with the inclusion of breakfast for 2. Breakfast alone costs about $20 per person.
  • If you are looking for comparable service at a lower rate ($100/Night) go to the JW Marriott. Not only do they have great rooms and service, but they also give free internet to ALL Marriott Rewards members. This is a savings of $15/day. The Ritz Carlton does not honor the free internet policy or 4PM checkout policy.
  • If you do get internet, the most useful part is the free wifi hotspot they give you. The hotel encourages you to take the hotspot with you while in Malaysia. The Internet is unlimited and works amazingly well! I found myself posting pictures with great speed and amazing coverage.
  • Turndown service is done twice a day and they leave nice chocolates on the bedside
  • If you do choose to eat breakfast, the staff at the restaurant (Cesar’s) is wonderful. They all have great personalities and really do love working at the Ritz.
More Pictures
Check-in area/Lobby
The buffet spread. You can choose from the buffet AND menu
Delicious banana-blueberry pancakes

Overall Experience

I would return to this hotel in a heartbeat and would highly recommend it to all types of families and couples. The Ritz Carlton offers wonderful service with tastefully appointed rooms. If you’re looking for an affordable yet classy place to stay in Malaysia, this is the hotel!



Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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Singapore Airlines is probably one of the best airlines in the world.

I’ve had the privilege to fly Singapore Airlines almost 2-4 times a year since I was born. I was even one of the first “children” to fly the nonstop LAX-SIN flight which was then dubbed as the A345 Leadership. Although I always flew in Economy, in the next few days, I’ll be flying Singapore’s Suites product from Singapore-Los Angeles. I’ve dreamed of this day since I first knew what the First Class product looked like. I plan on writing about every detail on an upcoming trip report after I fly but for now, I want to talk about how I booked it.

A few days ago, I wrote about Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program. I was able to show you guys some cool ways to redeem points with them and how easy it is to transfer American Express points to KrisFlyer.

Recently, Singapore Airlines started to release First Class A380 space. The Singapore A380 is easily on of the most luxurious First Class products in the sky. The A380s feature a fully enclosed sliding door suite. Singapore has worked hard to protect the product, and before it began releasing saver space, a flight on the A380 could cost up to 1 million points!

I wanted to take full advantage of this suite so naturally, I booked from Singapore-Los Angeles. I did this for a few reasons:

  • First Class Check In Experience
  • Access to Singapore Airlines First Class Lounge
  • Access to “The Private Room”
  • Some people say the food from SIN-LAX is better than LAX-SIN
  • Availability is really wide open

Now, although availability is open, only one First Class Suite is released per flight. This makes it extremely difficult to get two passengers onboard but if you’re traveling between London-Singapore and Australia-Singapore, Lucky reports that Singapore is opening multiple Suites on the same flight. 

In my decision, I also took into account that I had a free Singapore roundtrip ticket that needed to be used before March 31st. I pondered on this for a while and decided I would split my free roundtrip ticket into two flights and combine it with two awards:

LAX-SIN (Free Singapore Ticket in Economy)

SIN-LAX (KrisFlyer Points)

LAX-Europe-SIN (One Way Business United for 60K)

SIN-LAX (Free Singapore Ticket in Economy)

From Singapore-Los Angeles, it costs 107,500 miles one way in First Class. Singapore Airlines has a 15% discount on awards booked online so Singapore-Los Angeles in first class can be booked online for 91,375 miles!

While booking, I found dates with availability and started my American Express points transfer. It can take 24-48 hours to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Singapore. However, if you transfer the points before 10AM pacific time, it usually posts by 12 midnight pacific.

At 12:01, I logged in and saw my points had posted. I also saw that space on my flight was still available. The one issue with SIA is that they charge fuel surcharges on their flight (except for origination out of Brazil) and this can sometimes devalue an award. The taxes and surcharges on my flight were coming out to $475 SGD or $~383 USD. I consider this price worth the Suites product, so I booked it.

The confirmation email was sent to me instantly and was followed by the E-ticket.  My ticket was now booked and I’m awaiting my trip on Singapore Suites!

Has anyone else had a different experience booking SQ tickets?


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

By now, you may be well aware of the rule that on a United oneway award, you can’t take a stopover. On a roundtrip award, you get one stopover. (This is just for awards booked with United miles. Different airlines, different rules.)

In certain cases, though, you can add a stopover to your planned oneway award and even decrease the miles price.

Let use a sample itinerary to illustrate what I mean: Say you want to go from Los Angeles to Shanghai with a stop in Frankfurt.

United does not allow stopovers on oneway awards, so ordinarily this would price as two awards: Los Angeles to Frankfurt and Frankfurt to Shanghai.

In business class those trips are 50,000 miles and 65,000 miles.

If you try to book these two separately or as a oneway with a stopover, that would cost you 115,000 miles!

The trick is to book this as a roundtrip flight and tack on a flight later on in the year even if you know you won’t take it. This flight should be in economy because Shanghai to Los Angeles in economy is only 32,500 miles. If we’re not flying the flight, let’s at least make it as cheap as possible.

How can spending 32,500 miles on a flight we aren’t flying save us miles?

Because a one way business class flight from Los Angeles to Shanghai is 60,000 miles. If we make it a roundtrip where the outbound is 60,000 and the “return” is 32,500, this itinerary can be had for 92,500 miles instead on 115,000.

The reason Los Angeles to Shanghai was pricing at 115,000 miles earlier was the stop in Frankfurt split the award into two expensive awards. As a roundtrip, we are allowed a stop in Frankfurt, and we are allowed to route to Asia via Europe.

All we have to do is find a “return” day to make our “roundtrip” work.

After you find your flights, just call up United at 1-800-UNITED-1 and put these flights together if you can’t book the award online, which may be difficult because the online pricing engine give a lot of error messages.


If I booked one of these awards, I would be on the lookout for changes to me phantom “return.” If changes occurred, I would do nothing at first. After flying to Shanghai, I would then call United to cancel the rest of the award because of the changes to the schedule. Talking your way into a refund of the 32,500 miles for the return should be easy.

To maximize your chances of a favorable change for you, book the return for 11 months out to give the schedule plenty of time to change.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.


American Express Platinum, Gold, Green, Centurion, and Corporate cards earn Membership Rewards points, which are transferable to dozens of hotel and airline points at varying ratios. Each article in this series focuses on one of the best options.

Singapore Airlines

There are two reasons I like to transfer Membership Rewards to Singapore KrisFlyer miles: cheaper domestic Star Alliance awards and it’s the only way to get into Singapore’s premium cabins.

Singapore Airlines is recognized as one of the most luxurious airlines in the world. Their commitment to service and fairly new cabin layouts change long haul travel from a chore to a pleasure. To get a seat on Singapore Airlines (even in economy) is an experience in itself. And Singapore releases way more award space–especially in its over-the-top Suites Class–to its own award program, meaning this is a program worthy of study.

American Express Membership Rewards transfer 1:1 to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles. That makes Singapore one of three Star Alliance transfer partners of Membership Rewards–the other two being ANA and Air Canada’s Aeroplan. Since the Star Alliance often has the best award availability, certainly it does in business class to Europe, we have another reason to closely study Singapore’s program.

To start, let’s look at Singapore’s Star Alliance redemption chart:

And it’s definition of those regions:

This chart is the relevant chart when you want to use your KrisFlyer miles on a Star Alliance airline other than Singapore itself.

What Stands Out?

Domestic US in first

The first thing that stands out is Singapore’s award pricing of awards within the continental US, Alaska, and Canada.

The roundtrip prices are 25k/40k/60k in economy/business/first, and you get oneways for half price.

If you travel a lot in premium cabins domesticall, there is actually an awesome redemption available through KrisFlyer. You see, like most airlines, Singapore codes domestic first class on two-cabin planes as business class.

That means that most first class seats with United Airlines and US Airways are coded at the business class rate on Singapore’s chart, which is only 20k miles each way. This includes Dreamliner beds when the 787 is operating domestic routes, since United’s Dreamliner is a two-cabin plane. (See Tahsir’s United 787 Trip Report from their first day in operation.)

First class on a three-cabin plane prices at the higher level of 30k each way, like JFK-LAX in United p.s. Other than those flights, you can book into first class for a roundtrip of only 40,000 points–a 25% discount over the 50,000 miles charged by United and US Airways for the same seats.

Singapore Airlines requires you to call into their service center anytime you need to book a Star Alliance award. Before calling into their center, do some research with United’s online award search program. (Here’s how.) After finding the flights you want, call Singapore at 213-404-0301, and give the agent the date, cabin, and flight number of your desired flights

Note: Some people may get a busy tone. I’ve singled this out to be a Verizon Wireless issue only. Hang up and dial from a non-Verizon phone.


Singapore’s miles price from the continental US to Hawaii is cheaper than United’s in all three cabins.

35,000 miles roundtrip is a 5,000 mile discount over United in economy class though it’s far from The Cheapest Ways to Get to Hawaii. 60,000 miles roundtrip for domestic first class is a 20,000 mile discount over United. And 80,000 miles for three-cabin first class is also a 20,000 mile discount over United, which does fly some three-cabin planes to my favorite state.

Other Routes

I find using Singapore miles on other routes to be a bad deal because the surcharges Singapore charges on international awards are usually prohibitive.

What about booking Singapore Airlines flights?

Singapore Airlines categorizes awards on its own planes into three miles-prices: Saver, Standard, and Full. Like always, we’re only interested in the cheapest awards–in this case, Saver awards. Singapore Airlines has a separate chart for travel using just Singapore-operated flights. Here is the saver award chart:

Unlike the Star Alliance chart, the prices quoted are for oneway awards. 

If you are trying to go to Singapore, the first column is what you need to look at. For example, JFK-SIN is 37,500 miles in economy, 85,000 in business, and 110,000 in first. But if you book an award online, Singapore will discount your miles needed by 15%. So New York to Singapore is really 31,875/72,250/93,500 each way in economy/business/first if you book online.

In the US, Singapore flies out of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Newark, and New York-JFK.

From these points, Singapore Airlines offers a ton of availability to any of its destinations, and Singapore has a very strong route network. But Singapore only releases its premium seats to its own program. Singapore doesn’t release any business or first class long haul seats to its Star Alliance partners.

This makes Membership Rewards the only way most of us can get into Singapore premium cabins, since few of us credit miles to KrisFlyer accounts otherwise.

Singapore Airlines recently started releasing saver availability on their new A380 Suites Class (better than normal first class), and those redemptions can be quite a good deal, especially after the 15% discount!

A First Class trip on the new A380 oneway from the West Coast to Singapore will cost you 91,375 miles plus taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges of $342. Considering that you can get on an A380 Suite for almost 20 hours, 91,375 and $342 may be a good value for some luxury lovers.

But if you’re like me, you want to avoid fuel surcharges, so you have one option. Perhaps the best redemption you can make with Singapore Airlines miles is a First Class seat from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Barcelona, Spain because flights originating in Brazil can’t charge fuel surcharges.

For 58,225 miles and $36 you can get 10 hours in Singapore First Class on a 777-300ER. Not only are there no fuel surcharges, but the miles outlay is low too. American charges 90,000 miles oneway from Brazil to Europe in first class.

Economy on the same flight is even better because it is only 17,000 miles one way! To put that into perspective, United charges 47,500 one way for the same flight. In addition, because there are no fuel surcharges levied from Brazil, this flight would only cost you $36 in taxes!

(Hat Tip: Amol for this gem.)

What’s the catch?

The big downside to KrisFlyer is that they have fuel surcharges on most flights. This can drastically reduce the value of your ticket because these surcharges can often get over $500 for a roundtrip flight. The way to get around this is to fly airlines or routes with your Singapore miles that don’t incur surcharges. I’ve mentioned these already: United and US Airways domestic flights and Sao Paulo to Barcelona on Singapore itself.

On roundtrips, Singapore allows one stopover. On oneways, you don’t get a stopover.

How to Book

I’ll show how to book New York to Mumbai roundtrip on Singapore metal.

First, you have to sign up for a KrisFlyer account and click Book a Flight.


  • Make sure the KrisFlyer redemption box is check marked.
  • If you want to do a one way trip, click the “one way trip?” button.
  • This won’t search for other Star Alliance availability, just Singapore’s own space.
  • If you need a stopover, just call in because it will be a lot easier. In my experience, Singapore agents are super knowledgeable and friendly.


  • Flights are displayed in segments (JFK-SIN)(SIN-BOM) so make sure you select both for the outbound and both for the inbound.
  • You need to find Saver space listed as Available. If it says Waitlist, look for another day.
  • Click the display total cost button to see how many miles it comes out to with the online discount.


  • These images are just showing how to book a flight on the Krisflyer system. The actual itinerary itself is really horrible because 89,250 miles plus $936 in cash is a horrible price in economy class to India. The going rate for a roundtrip flight on these exact flights was about $1836 when I checked, and that trip earns miles.
  • If you want to avoid fuel surcharges, use United miles if you have any because I was able to find the same exact flight on the same exact day for 80,000 United miles plus $57 in taxes. A savings of $890 and almost 10,000 miles! Or you could get the flights for 80k US Airways miles and $107.
  • If you see any redemption with Silkair (a subsidiary of Singapore), you cannot book those on other Star Alliance partners because Silkair is not a Star Alliance partner.


Do the points transfer instantly?

AMEX Membership Rewards do not transfer instantly. FlyerTalkers report it takes 12-48 hours for them to post. For me, the transfer posts in about 24 hours. This is an issue because some people report that Singapore doesn’t allow you to hold award tickets. I kind of debunked this myth because I was able to put my flights on hold for two days while my points came in from AMEX. In addition, I’ve noticed that if you transfer points before 10AM Pacific Time, the points should post exactly at midnight that day.

What if I don’t have enough miles?

Singapore requires that you have at least 50% of the miles you need for a redemption in your account before you can buy anymore for a redemption. They will let you buy points at an extremely high $40 per 1,000 miles or 4 cents each. Don’t buy miles for 4 cents.

The best way to get around this is to call American Express and have them loan you however many points you need. American Express loans up to 15,000 points for Gold cardholders and up to 60,000 for Platinum members. You have a year to earn these points back or else they charge 2.5 cents per point. This is still far better than the 4 cents per point that Singapore will charge you.

Getting Membership Rewards

This week is a good time to get Membership Rewards. The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN has a 75k Membership Rewards sign up bonus. Bill explained why you may not want to get this card, though. Hint: $10k spending requirement in the first four months to unlock the bonus.

You can pair that with the personal Mercedes-Benz American Express Platinum with 50,000 Membership Rewards after spending $1,000 in three months, $100 credit for Global Entry signup, $200 calendar-year airline-fee credit, and free airport lounge access. Note: You don’t need to be affiliated with Mercedes-Benz, and this version of the card has a better sign up bonus than the “regular” version.

This card has a $475 annual fee not waived the first year, but I count $500+ in benefits in the first year not even including the Membership Rewards.


There are two good reasons to transfer Membership Rewards to Singapore Airlines: to get discounts on awards within the US and to fly Singapore Suites, First, and Business classes.

To book partners, refer to the Star Alliance chart, and call Singapore. To book Singapore flights, book online and enjoy a 15% miles discount for doing so.

Getting Membership Rewards is easy, especially before the 75k Business Gold card offer expires.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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